The National Children’s Study is the largest and longest study of children’s health ever conducted in the United States. The study is committed to identifying ways to improve the health and well-being of children. It seeks to understand how the environment — the places where children live, learn, and play — may be linked to early childhood diseases.
Hundreds of children in Ramsey County will participate in this unique national study, which will follow more than 100,000 children across the United States from before birth until age 21.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota are leading the effort in Ramsey County, one of 37 sites nationwide where the study is underway. Invitations were mailed to more than 31,000 randomly selected households last January. A second round of mailings was recently sent out to eligible households to encourage participation, as recruitment for the pilot phase of the study will end in November.
Women between the age of 18 and 49 who are pregnant or likely to become pregnant in the near future are currently being enrolled. Participation begins with completion of a pregnancy questionnaire. It continues with periodic visits and phone calls with field staff during pregnancy and as the child grows. Mothers who enroll in the study will receive compensation to participate and have the choice to opt out of the study at any time.
The study is reaching out to communities of color to increase their participation and overall representation in the general public. Participation of racial and ethnic groups in research is critical to understanding and eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities.
Kerri Sawyer, a community liaison for the project, has attended a variety of events including baby showers, farmers markets, and other cultural gatherings to let community members know that their participation is vital to the success of the study.
The information that is gathered could lead to new treatments and preventive practices to keep our children and communities healthy.
If you are interested in participating and want to find out if you are eligible, call 1-866-315-7126. Visit http://RamseyKids.nationalchild rensstudy.gov or www.face book.com/ramseykids for information about the study. See the recently released video at www.youtube.com/user/RamseyNCS.
This article was provided by University of Minnesota School of Public Health.